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Darkestrah - Epos CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.71 | 5 ratings

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5 stars Kyrgyz-German black metal band Darkestrah took a huge risk with their third album by making it a single track. Granted, that single track is thirty-three and a half minutes long, so they've in good progressive rock company here, but it's a risk that could backfire tremendously if the song turned out to be boring. Fortunately, that proves not to have been the case.

The album opens with samples of waves, which is a bit clichéd but works nicely to set up the atmosphere of the album. After a few minutes of this, some black metal riffs begin to fade in before the full band starts to play. The album utilises a cello, which is excellent (my only complaint is that I wish we could hear more of it), and the vocals of Kriegtalith deserve mention here as well. It's pretty unusual to hear female black metal vocals, and she is one of the best female black metal vocalists I've ever heard. Her vocals give the music a distinctive flavour that helps their music stand out from the crowd.

Lengthy passages of this album are completely instrumental, though. About halfway there's a break for thunder and rain sound effects, and then an acoustic guitar builds a riff that the band then constructs a Kyrgyz folk-flavoured black metal passage over. No other black metal band that I'm aware of has ever crossed these disparate elements in their music, and Darkestrah here are better at it than they've ever been. The passage builds in intensity in true post-rock style until the melody shifts again and Kriegtalith's vocals come back in shortly thereafter. The musical shifts are done intelligently; it doesn't feel like a collection of songs that the band stitched together, but rather one very consciously composed opus. A few shifts later (one of which brings in the lovely cello again) we get another acoustic passage which works fantastically before introducing a new black metal theme.

After a few more shifts the album eventually recapitulates the original theme with some beautiful clean singing in what sounds like Arabic or a Central Asian language (my ear for these is not terribly great). The album closes off with wave sounds again, as I suspect not much else would have provided appropriate closure to the album. With the sound effects, we really have only slightly under thirty minutes of music here, but what's here is of such high quality that I don't expect many listeners to mind. This album is an unqualified masterpiece and fans of post-black metal and folk metal are strongly urged to check it out.

CassandraLeo | 5/5 |


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